DAYTON, Ohio – Texas Southern University failed to earn a spot in the second round of the NCAA Tournament falling to Cal Poly 81-69 Wednesday night in the First Four at the University of Dayton Arena.
Aaric Murray closed out his career with 38 points for TSU (19-15), champs of the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament. It was the 20th time this season Murray scored 20 or more points and also the most points scored by a SWAC player in the NCAA Tournament.
Down by as many as 16 points early in the second half, the Tigers fought back with a 9-4 run to get the lead down to single figures. It stayed there until the Mustangs awakened.
Murray had a jam and two foul shots to narrow it to 70-62 with 4:42 left before the teams traded points.
Cal Poly took time off the clock until Kyle Odister missed a long three, but David Nwaba was fouled on the rebound and hit the second shot with 1:42 remaining.
TSU then turned it over when Jose Rodriguez bowled over Jamal Johnson on a drive. Chris Eversley was quickly fouled and made both free throws and the lead was back to 76-66 with just over a minute left.
Trailing 17-16 after a Murray three pointer which gave him 11 points, Cal Poly took the lead for good on Brian Bennett’s slashing move to the hoop. After a Texas Southern miss, Bennett scored again on a 14-foot jumper. Those two baskets keyed a 16-7 burst for a 32-24 lead.
Murray ended up 14 of 23 from the field, 3 of 5 behind the arc and a perfect 7 for 7 at the line. Earlier in the season, he scored 28 points against Stanford, 30 against Tulsa and 48 against Temple in his return home to Philadelphia.
TSU was making its fifth NCAA trip, and fell to 0-5.
Dave Nwaba added 17 points and Bennett who was a perfect 5 for 5 from the field had 10 for the Mustangs.
Courtesy of swac.org
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